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Richard's Pipit - Midway, Fair Isle October 2014
What a tricky bird. This individual initially flew past me as I walked along the road towards Midway and I dismissed it as a Meadow Pipit as it was a small pipit. As it passed me it banked and showed a 'lot' of white in the tail which made me stay with it until it landed on the road behind me. On getting my Bin's on the bird my initial re-action was 'shit it's a Richards Pipit'. I started to try and get photo's but it was very flighty and I really only managed record shots.

I indicated to another bird over at Schoolton, Ian, and he soon joined me and we discussed how small it was, hence why I almost ignored it earlier. It was clearly a small Large Pipit and the way it was behaving in the long grass nearby, creeping and scurrying more like a Meadow or Tree Pipit, was very un Richard's Pipit like.

It was small, short-tailed, short-legged, plain faced with quite strong mantle stripes, neat breast streaks and obvious white wing bars and it really screamed Blyth's Pipit.

Over the next hour or so we and numerous other birders tried to nail it and it really was leaning towards a Blyth's, until I photographed the conclusive (?) very long hind claw.....it was a very small Richards Pipit behaving very un-Richards Pipit like. Oh well a close call, would have liked it to have been Blyth's but perseverance resulted in the correct if somewhat perplexing answer.
UK Scarcities Photo Pages
Fair Isle 2014